My Life and Mathematics

By Debra Briggs, Federation University Australia

My interest in numbers began as a pre-schooler. When I was 3 years old I remember my mother pulling a mandarin in half and talking about how two halves make a whole. The reason she did this was because I apparently said I “was sick of normal numbers”.

All through my schooling, maths was my favourite subject. A few years after high school, I travelled to Europe. While in Greece, I met a nuclear engineer who spoke about how everything at his job worked. It was during these conversations that I realised I missed learning. When I told him this, he advised me to “never give up on learning”. As soon as I returned to Australia I applied to university.

I knew from the moment I returned to university that I wanted to do something with mathematics. Thanks to AMSI I have had opportunities to discover where maths can take me. Once I complete my degree in Mathematical Sciences, I intend to do post-graduate studies.

My partner, Mark, is awesome and has supported me through my entire journey. My son, Jackson, was born mid semester 2014 and has been to most classes since then. He keeps me busy but also reminds me to remain determined to succeed. I’m trying to encourage a love of numbers in him. One of his first words was 18. I count with him quite a bit and one day, as I was counting “fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, …”, then Jax piped up and said “Aaaahdeen”. He now recognises and can say most numbers between 1 and 30.

Debra Briggs was one of the recipients of a 2015/16 AMSI Vacation Research Scholarship.

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